Soil and Water Chemistry: An Integrative Approach, Second Edition, 2nd Edition (Hardback) book cover

Soil and Water Chemistry

An Integrative Approach, Second Edition, 2nd Edition

By Michael E. Essington

CRC Press

656 pages | 373 B/W Illus.

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The second edition of a bestseller, Soil and Water Chemistry: An Integrative Approach maintains the balanced perspective that made the first edition a hugely popular textbook. The second edition includes new figures and tables, new chapters, and expanded exercises in each chapter. It covers topics including soil chemical environment, soil minerals, soil organic matter, cation exchange, oxidation-reduction, mineral weathering and solubility, surface chemistry and adsorption reactions, acidity and salinity in soil materials, and chemical thermodynamics applied to soil systems.

See What’s New in the Second Edition:

  • Extensive section that details the sources, speciation, and the general behavior of elements in soils
  • Expanded section on crystal structure, updated phyllosillcates classifications scheme, inclusion of sepiolite-palygorskite group, and expanded x-ray diffraction section
  • Discussion of surface runoff losses of phosphorus from soil and description of the inductivity coupled argon plasma-mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS) analytical technique for determining elemental concentrations in soil solution
  • Coverage of the influence of redox processes on the soil chemistry of nonelectroactive elements
  • Description of the electrokinetic phenomenon and investigation of the influence of temperature on adsorption
  • Expanded discussion on the application of chemical thermodynamics to soil systems

A solutions manual is available upon qualifying course adoption.

Still one of the only texts on this subject, this book provides a comprehensive, modern, and balanced coverage of the chemical and mineralogical characteristics of soils and their chemical processes. It contains more information and topic coverage than required for an average, single-semester course. This extensive coverage is by design, giving you the latitude to pick your own essential topics while providing additional information or a more advanced treatment when needed. Figures and tables make the information accessible and each problem has been tested and is relevant and doable, but asks more of students than to simply generate a number. This format allows students to understand the concepts and recognize that their computations have physical meaning.


From the First Edition:

Overall, this book comprehensively presents the chemical and mineralogical characteristics and processes of soils. The breadth and depth of coverage … make this book one of the most thorough available. Numerous figures and tables help simplify the complex principles and reactions described. … The book will … be a comprehensive source of information for researchers and professionals [dealing with] the effect of soil-water chemistry, interactions, and processes that impact the environment. As usual, the publishers have done an excellent job of editing and preparing a high quality product.”

— Journal of Environmental Quality, Vol. 33, No. 4, July/Aug. 2004

“I congratulate the author on producing an outstanding up-to-date book that sets a higher standard for future environmental science textbooks. I would highly recommend anyone who is interested in the area of soil and water chemistry to purchase this book.”

— Vadose Zone Journal, May 2005

"Dr. Essington's book will be an outstanding choice as a textbook for those of us who teach soil chemistry, and will be an excellent resource for anyone working in the area of environmental soil science. He should be congratulated for producing a thorough, well-written book."

— Dr. George F. Vance

J.E. Warren Distinguished Professor of Energy and the Environment

Department of Renewable Resources

University of Wyoming, Laramie

"I continue to be impressed by the quality of writing in this book. The author has a superb command of the subject matter and presents many difficult concepts in an easily understood manner. Material is covered in as complete a fashion as I have seen in any other soil chemistry textbook."

— Dr. Gary Pierzynski, Kansas State University

"I am so glad to see specific chemical reactions to describe the chemistry behind common methods. This is where I think Essington's textbook is really going to excel. …this book should also serve as an excellent 'working reference' for geochemists, environmental scientists, and consultants."

— Dr. April L. Ulery

New Mexico State University, Las Cruces

Table of Contents

Soil Chemical Environment: An Overview

Phases and Chemical Processes in Soil

Elements in the Soil Environment: Their Concentrations, Speciation, and General Behavior

Units and Conversions

Heterogeneity of Soil Chemical Characteristics



Soil Minerals

Chemical Bonds

Pauling's Rules

Crystal Structure

Silicate Classes

Clay Mineralogy

Hydrous Metal Oxides

X-Ray Diffraction Analysis



Chemical Weathering

Hydrolysis and Oxidation

Balancing Chemical Reactions

Mineral Stability: Primary Silicates in the Sand- and Silt-Sized Fractions

Mineral Stability: Clay-Sized Fraction

Weathering and Formation Characteristics of the Phyllosilicates

General Weathering Scheme for the Phyllosilicates



Organic Matter in Soil

Determination of Soil Organic Carbon Concentrations

Organic Functional Groups: A Review

Nonhumic Substances

Humic Substances



Soil Water Chemistry

Nature of Water

Ion Hydration

Electrolyte Solutions

Hydrolysis of Cations

Lowry-Brønsted Acids and Bases

Complex Ions and Ion Pairs

Ion Association Model

Ion Speciation in Soil Solutions

Qualitative Aspects of Ion Speciation

Soil Water Sampling Methodologies

Methods of Chemical Analysis: Elemental Analysis



Mineral Solubility

Mineral Solubility: Basic Principles

Application of Mineral Solubility Principles: Impediments

Deviation of Ksp from Kdis

Mineral Solubility and Solution Composition

Stability Diagrams

Predicting Solution Composition



Oxidation-Reduction Reactions in Soils

Electron Activity and Stability of Water

Redox Potential Measurements

Redox Status in Soils

pe-pH Predominance Diagrams



Surface Chemistry and Adsorption Reactions

Surface Functional Groups and Complexes

Solid-Solution Interface: A Microscopic View

Quantitative Description of Adsorption

Specific Retention of Metals and Ligands

Ligand Effects on Metal Adsorption

Organic Surface Functional Groups and Organic Molecular Retention Mechanisms

Surface Complexation Models



Cation Exchange

Cation Exchange: A Beginning for Soil Chemistry

Qualitative Aspects of Cation Exchange

Cation-Exchange Capacity and Exchange Phase Composition

Quantitative Description of Cation Exchange



Acidity in Soil Materials

Measurement of Soil Solution pH

Chemical and Biochemical Processes That Influence Soil Solution pH

Acid-Neutralizing Capacity and the Quantification of Soil Acidity

Neutralization of Soil Acidity

Acid Generation and Management in Mine Spoils: The Oxidation of Pyrite



Soil Salinity and Sodicity

Sources of Salts and Problematic Elements

Diagnostic Characteristics of Saline and Sodic Soils

Irrigation Water Quality Parameters and Relationships

Genesis, Management, and Reclamation of Salt-Affected Soils



Chemical Thermodynamics Applied to Soil Systems

Thermodynamic Soil System

Gibbs-Duhem Equation and the Gibbs Phase Rule

Chemical Equilibria in Soils

Ionic Species



About the Author

Michael E. Essington is professor of soil and water chemistry in the Institute of Agriculture at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. In addition to teaching courses in soil chemistry and clay mineralogy, his special research interests center on the role of aqueous speciation in environmental chemistry, with particular emphasis on trace element adsorption and precipitation phenomena. These interests have resulted in more than 200 publications and technical reports.

Dr. Essington received his BSc in agriculture from New Mexico State University in 1980 and his PhD in soil science from the University of California, Riverside, in 1985. He was a research scientist at the Western Research Institute in Laramie, Wyoming, from 1985 to 1990 and has been at the University of Tennessee since then. He is a member of the Soil Science Society of America, the American Society of Agronomy, Sigma Xi, and Gamma Sigma Delta. He is a fellow of the Soil Science Society of America and the American Society of Agronomy. Dr. Essington’s professional activities include serving as an associate editor and technical editor for the Soil Science Society of America Journal and as soil chemistry division chair and member of the board of directors for the Soil Science Society of America.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Botany
SCIENCE / Chemistry / General
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / General
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Agriculture / General